I have written before about my beautiful black Labrador x, Zeus. My companion, my protector, my 'alarm system' for the corporeal and non-corporeal. Here is the end of his story, or is it?
For those of you who have a soft heart as far as animals go, I am posting a tissue warning now.
Just over two years ago, on New Year's Eve, Zeus had a traumatic experience. My husband (Ray) and I were at a party with our granddaughter Shenay, when our neighbour phoned us to let us know that Zeus was in their yard. Some idiots from up the road had been throwing fireworks into our yard (at Zeus?) Zeus had scaled the 6 foot wall into their yard to escape. We left the party immediately and fetched an extremely traumatized Zeus. He appeared to be intact, only in shock.
About a month or so later, we discovered a lump on the side of Zeus' jaw. At first I thought it was an insect bite, so kept an eye on it. It grew larger. To cut a long story short, over the next year, we had Zeus to five different vets, all of whom gave similar diagnoses and advice. Zeus had a sialocele, probably caused by trauma. On reflection, probably sustained that New Year's Eve, and we just hadn't noticed it in his panicked state. An operation would be dangerous and there was no guarantee that it wouldn't grow back, even faster. We decided to 'ride it out' until we could see signs of it being detrimental to his health.
On February 18 I awakened at 6:30 to a horrifying sight. There were blood trails all over the house. Zeus' sialocele had 'burst' during the night. I was greatly distressed, but I knew that the end of the line had come for my precious fur baby. I phoned the lady from our local SPCA, with whom I had become friendly. She had promised that when the time came, she would do the necessary, on our property. She arrived sometime after 11:00.
Zeus willingly went with us into the back yard. I sat down on the lawn and after sniffing the lethal contents of medicine box the lady carried, he sat down with me. It was almost as if he knew what was going to happen. Zeus lay down with his head on my lap and looked up at me as she slipped the needle into a vein. All the while I was fondling his ear, stroking his neck and talking to him - saying goodbye. Thus, he slipped over the rainbow bridge. Zeus now occupies a marked grave in our back yard.
Two mornings later, Friday 20th, I woke up from a dream in which I saw Zeus. He no longer had the big bulge on the right side of his face, but an empty 'bag' dangling down. It was as if the sialocele had shriveled up and only the excess skin was left.
Sunday 22nd, I again awakened from a dream of Zeus. This time he was perfect in every way. I wonder if he came back to let me know that he was 'all better' now. Ray claims that on the previous night, before he retired, he heard Zeus give one bark out the front, and went to investigate. Of course, nothing was to be seen.
Monday 23rd, Ray was awakened in the night by Zeus' 'call' to be let out. He got up and went through to the lounge, only to realize that Zeus is no longer with us.
On a couple of occasions, I was almost positive that I heard the sound of Zeus outside our bedroom door. Naturally, this can be wishful thinking on my part.
Wednesday 25th, sometime during the morning, I was in the kitchen. I heard Zeus' 'knock' on the kitchen security gate - his signal that his food bowl was empty. Of course, when I went to investigate, there was no sign of anything that could have caused that bump on the gate.
On 12 March, we received visitors. The gentleman had been friends with our youngest daughter. Two days earlier, he had heard of her passing and came to pay his respects, bringing his wife with him. We met the wife for the first time. At one stage, Ray and the lady were in the kitchen together. She emerged from the passage rubbing her arms and saying, "Look, I have got gooseflesh." The reason for this is, she saw Zeus outside our back door. She had been at the back door when she told Ray that she saw movement. Ray asked, "What movement?" She replied that she had seen a black dog. Ray answered that we used to have a black dog, then took her through to Shen's room to see the grave from the window. She turned to Ray and said "It was a black Labrador!" Ray replied, "You are quite correct.
She had no way of previously hearing of this.
I believe I am not crazy in thinking that my big beautiful boy is sticking around a while longer.